LIARS AND SAINTS by Maile Meloy

Reviewed by Nordeen Morello, Book-‘Em

Liars and Saints(October 24, 2003) Maille Meloy's first novel, Liars and Saints, while epic in scope, is a slender volume of only 260 pages. It is a generational story, effortlessly taking the reader from the late 1940's to present day, and it is quality writing. Teddy and Yvette Santerre, devoutly Catholic young newlyweds, settle in Southern California as the novel opens. Over its course, four generations of Santerres will live their daily lives as best they can within frameworks of personal beliefs, guilts and secrets.

Given the obvious talent of the writer, it was a surprise that the Book-'Em group members were fairly evenly divided in their response to this piece. Those who did not enjoy it felt that the characters lacked development and depth. Meloy's deft handling of time, style of writing, and story line impressed the "fans". All agreed however, that perhaps the final portion was somewhat rushed and culminated in too pat an ending.

The question of the night was "What would you have done in Yvette's place?" to cope with what becomes the central conflict in the book. The group debated: just who was the 'saint' of this story, what secrets might lurk within their own lives and are secrets "OK", how central is Catholicism to this novel, and, finally, what individual members might have taken away from this read. Two responses were an admiration for aging gracefully and the realization that things in our lives are not always as simple as they might appear to be.

Liars and Saints is recommended as a book group selection for its readability, quality and fruitful discussion possibilities. And yes, I was one of its "fans."

FROM THE EDITORS: We'd love to hear from other Larchmont readers. Take the Book poll and add your comments.


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